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Vancouver School Board takes fire over retroactive pay bump for trustees

Click to play video: 'Vancouver School Board under fire for retroactive raises for trustees' Vancouver School Board under fire for retroactive raises for trustees
WATCH: The Vancouver School Board is under fire for voting behind closed doors to give trustees a raise retroactive to 2019. Grace Ke reports – Feb 24, 2021

The Vancouver School Board is facing criticism, after trustees voted themselves a pay bump behind closed doors.

The increase, which is retroactive to 2019, was approved at an in-camera meeting, then announced publicly at a recent board meeting where it drew the ire of former trustee and commentator Patti Bacchus.

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In a statement, the VSB said the raise, which amounts to about $2,000 per year, was a “retroactive adjustment” to compensate for a portion of trustees’ pay that lost its federal tax-free status in 2019.

Board chair Carmen Cho told Global News the decision was made in private because it was a personnel matter.

Read more: Should politicians vote on their own raises? This one says no

“Some (school) boards did it at private meetings and some boards did it in public meetings, so there is some differences amongst boards,” she said.

Certainly we had every expectation to report out publicly about the adjustment.”

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Global News exclusive: Vancouver city managers receive raises during pandemic – Oct 17, 2020

Bacchus said she has no problem with trustees being fairly compensated for their time.

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But she said any time politicians are making decisions about their own pay, it should be done in full public view.

Read more: One month after voting itself a pay hike, Metro Vancouver’s board has scrapped the plan

“It’s important that elected officials do any kind of debating and votes on their own salary increase, it should be done in public meetings,” she said.

“The public deserves to know why raises are being voted on, and who is voting for them and who is voting against them, and what the rationale is.”

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